New ‘Mee-Ka’ pop-up restaurant blends Hmong and American food cultures

New ‘Mee-Ka’ pop-up restaurant blends Hmong and American food cultures

Chef Yia Vang and his team have revamped their menu and room at 901 W. Lake St. in Uptown to start a new pop-up strategy, “Mee-Ka,” geared towards the merging of Hmong and American dishes.

Vang’s preceding pop-up store, Slurp, closed down to make place for the new cafe which will operate till early summertime 2023. The new pop-up opened Wednesday, March 29th.

The pop-up’s identify, Mee-Ka, will come from the Hmong term for “American,” signifying the enmeshing of the two cultures and its importance for Vang. 

“Growing up mother constantly asked if we desired to consume Hmong food or Mee-ka foodstuff,” reported chef and proprietor Yia Vang. “As Hmong folks, we lived in this cross-cultural condition of feeding on food that was regarded as Mee-ka but utilizing Hmong ingredients. But our Mee-Ka pop-up is not fusion food items. It is the forging of two cultures and traditions to develop a third lifestyle that we can use to join to others.” 

Mee-Ka will abide by in its pop-up predecessor’s footsteps serving a restricted menu of only six dishes, together with a handful of occasional specials and desserts.

The menu consists of recognizably common American dishes — such as meatloaf, or spaghetti and meatballs, together with a cheeseburger — whilst incorporating components and traditions from the Hmong lifestyle. Think ramen noodles as a substitute of spaghetti and meatballs that are designed of Hmong sausage.

The menu also includes dishes that are conventional within the Hmong domestic, these types of as the Nqaij Tsaws (pronounced “ngai chah-uh”), a dish that includes braised pork and greens alongside with rice and roasted veggies. Cobb Laab Salad, a cheeseburger, and a pork katsu sandwich also keep area on the menu. 

“Mee-Ka is the gorgeous collision of two astounding foods cultures that impressed and made a 3rd foods society,” explained Vang. “Mee-ka was the contextual comprehending of this 3rd tradition that we unintentionally aided develop. This was a way that Hmong youngsters felt like they belonged to a new environment that didn’t look like them.”

Mee-Ka will be open up Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for longer several hours on Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The restaurant delivers takeout as very well as dine-in selections. Mee-Ka will not settle for reservations. The menu attributes possibilities that are gluten-cost-free as perfectly as vegan and vegetarian. Beer and wine will be accessible. 

The Mee-Ka pop-up arrives after the thriving Slurp pop-up Noodle Shop which opened in the exact same space in early 2023. The Slurp menu will no for a longer time be out there, but the solution of its return to the Hilltribe team of eating places is not off the desk.